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Does anyone have any recommendations for a MAME emulator/frontend that doesn't require an advanced degree in computer science to operate?  Console emulators are so simple, but all my efforts to run MAME end in failure...

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Since no one has answered, what's giving you trouble?

I use the one from here:
https://www.mamedev.org/release.php

This is for WIndows 32 or 64 so apologies if you know this already.:

Create a folder to extract all the files to, get the parent roms and other child roms as well as CHDs if necessary and place them in the corresponding folders. Then it should be rather straightforward as other emulators out there once you click the startup icon for mame. Just to go available roms on the left side and click the game you have. It should boot up unless  it is broken.

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8 hours ago, modgeezer said:

I use emu-loader http://emuloader.mameworld.info/downloads.htm

but this is probably the easiest to use MAME Arcade this one has a built in frontend http://arcade.mameworld.info/

Thanks! I went with the bottom one when I heard "easiest." 

I had to unlearn some of my emulator habits like using save states.  There's no need with unlimited virtual quarters!

Also, while I at first lamented not having 3 friends to join me in those classic 4-player beat-em-ups, I realized I could just set all 4 players to the same buttons on my joypad and control everyone simultaneously.  Sure, only the one I'm looking at is playing with any degree of skill, but the others are all jumping around and hitting stuff by accident, so it's kind of like playing with friends who are video game spazzes, which is almost just how I remember it being back in the day.😂  And anytime I feel like playing a different character, all I have to do is shift my attention to them.  Pretty sweet.

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It's odd you mention NOT using save states in MAME kitsunebi because in truth you should.

Save states is the best way to practice individual levels over & over. For example if I'm learning a shmup/STG for a 1cc run I will save each level to a different save state slot and re-play that level until I get it down pat.

Of course for casual play save states aren't particularly necessary. But for praciticing levels or finding those hdiden levels & areas I do recommend still using save states.

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It's extremely unusual for the number of hours I play games in a year to go beyond single digits.  So at less than 10 hours per year, I'd rather not spend them replaying the same level over and over.😋  If there's anything more casual than "casual gamer," that's me.  Haven't had time for games for the past 15 years now...

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